Parishes to welcome new curate

Anthony and Eline Smith

A former astronomy researcher is to become the new curate of Whitworth and Spennymoor parishes when he is ordained later this month.

Anthony Smith will take up his new role when he’s ordained deacon in Durham Cathedral on June 30th after training for ministry at Cranmer Hall theological college in Durham since 2016.

In the summer of 2017 Anthony spent four weeks on placement and grew to love Whitworth and St Paul’s churches and the town and it wasn't a difficult decision to return when the opportunity arose to become curate.

He said: “I’m looking forward to getting to know people in the churches and in the community. I’m excited to be joining the churches in their journey of discovering Jesus and sharing his love in and around Spennymoor. I believe that Jesus Christ is good news for everyone and I’m looking forward to helping people to encounter him.”

Anthony added: “I grew up in quite a traditional Anglican church, and grew to love the music, the hymns and the liturgy that have been such an important part of the Church of England. I also grew to love the Bible and the way it speaks to us so clearly and powerfully about Jesus. So I’m sure I will feel at home in St Paul’s and Whitworth churches.”

Before studying theology in Durham, Anthony worked in computer software and was previously a university researcher in astronomy, including astronomical computer software. Latterly his work also included freelance web development. Anthony is a talented singer and organist which was nurtured during his time as an organ scholar at Southwell Minster and Jesus College, Cambridge.

Writing on his website blog, Anthony recalls that by the age of ten he was a “firm atheist” and thought “this religious stuff was a load of nonsense”. He said: “But I think I wanted to believe, not least because I was getting very keen on church music and playing the organ. When I was 15 I started going to the youth group of a local Bible-believing church. On 2 March 1996 this church held a youth service. The preacher’s text was Luke 9:23: ‘Then he [Jesus] said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”’ He encouraged us to commit our lives to God, and I did so, out of a real sense of God drawing me to himself.”

Following a prayerful selection process, Anthony was recommended for training and moved to Durham with his wife Eline in 2016 to study and prepare for ordained ministry at Cranmer Hall. He said: “It has been a great opportunity to learn more about the Bible and the Christian faith, and to wrestle with some big questions about God and his creation. It has been hugely enriching to learn from some outstanding lecturers, and to be studying alongside others preparing for ministry in the Church of England and in other churches. We were living in Merseyside before moving to Durham, and I don’t think I would have ended up ministering in the north east if I had trained elsewhere. Studying at Cranmer Hall has been a great opportunity to see what God is doing in this part of the country and it has made me want to join in!”

On the day of Anthony’s ordination, Sunday 30th June, there will be no Holy Communion services at 9am at Whitworth Church, or 10:30am at St Paul’s. All are welcome to attend the ordination service at Durham Cathedral which starts at 10am. A list is available in both churches for anyone who would like to attend and bus transport is being provided.

Later in the day a joint service of Holy Communion and welcome for Anthony and Eline will take place at St Paul’s at 4pm, followed by a bring and share buffet.

Please continue to hold Anthony and Eline in your prayers as they prepare to move to Spennymoor ahead of Anthony’s ordination.